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this is "world news." tonight, terror alert. al qaeda planning a new attack on americans overseas. and our martha raddatz reporting on the targets and the race to intercept the plot. breaking news on food safety. what caused that mystery outbreak that sickened hundreds of people? an explosion of pet nappers. the new way thieves nab your dog. and the woman leading a pet detective to find them. and our persons of the week, oprah winfrey with forest whitaker, a provocative conversation on family and race in america, and her return to acting. get ready for an oprah like never before. good evening to you on this friday night.
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as we all head into this weekend together, another reminder of this uncertain world. there is a worldwide alert that al qaeda is looking for a moment to strike. today the state department issuing an alert warning americans overseas, that a plot is under way. but are there specific targets, and what should americans do? abc's chief global affairs correspondent, martha raddatz, tracking all the latest developments for us tonight. martha? >> today's global travel alert comes as the state department is preparing to shut down more than 20 embassies and consulates, the most to be closed since 9/11. a terrible reminder for americans that we are still major targets. the worldwide warning is alarming and unusually broad. it covers travel for americans across the globe and cautions travelers to be especially wary of tourist sites and public transportation.
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also unusual, the warning will stay in effect until the end of august. terrorists may use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. we spoke today exclusively to the chairman of the joint chiefs for abc's "this week." >> it is an al qaeda affiliated threat. it is of the al qaeda branch. >> is the threat to blow up an embassy, a consulate or something else? >> that part of it is unspecified. but the intent seems clear. >> the intent is what? >> the intent is to attack western, not just u.s. interests. >> reporter: a senior u.s. official telling abc news, that this is an active plot, coming from yemen, where the so-called underwear bomber got his training and where radical american cleric anwar al-awlaki directed terrorist attacks until he was killed in a drone strike two years ago.
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but there's a new boss now. now the coordinator of worldwide attack planning. intelligence showed this latest plot could involve multiple targets, both inside and outside yemen. thus, the long list of embassy closures across the muslim world. this after billions of dollars in security measures that can stop a truck. and protect from blasts. today's warnings clearly fall out from the deadly attack on the mission in benghazi. since then, 151 new diplomatic security positions have been approved. 1,000 additional marines for embassy security, although not yet in place, and more than 500 marines and soldiers now part of a quick reaction force to respond to attacks in africa. tonight officials are hoping that closing down these facilities and improving security in the region will avert an attack, but there's no certainty that will work. >> martha, what does the defense department advise families who have friends and family members
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traveling? >> well, i think frankly, you just have to be extra vigilant in public. steer clear of local events, like demonstrations. and there's also something called smart traveler enrollment, where you sign up to get e-mails and texts about security advisories. there's an app for your smart phone. >> advising you of additional details as they development. -- as they develop, right? >> exactly what it does. >> all right, martha, who will be standing sentry for us. thank you, martha. now we turn next to food safety right here at home and that mysterious parasite that caused an outbreak of illness known as cyclospora. traced to lettuce already in bags. tonight we learned the source of the lettuce. abc's jim avila has the latest. >> reporter: it's difficult to detect, a one-sell parasite called cyclospora. too small to be seen without a microscope. but carrying a powerful punch to the gut. this time hiding in salad mix.
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now finally, the fda is releasing the source. the outbreak sickening 400 people in 16 states and regulators tonight saying the salad sold at restaurants in nebraska and iowa, came from a mexican produce company with a record of food poisoning issues, called taylor farms. taylor farms sells 50% of its restaurant salad mix to olive garden and red lobster. tonight the fda says that's where it got the positive tests, in nebraska and iowa. tonight the owners of red lobster and olive garden say this is new information and the first time they've heard from the fda that its supplier was involved. the owners of the restaurants also remind their customers that the expiration date on this particular salad mix has in fact passed and is no longer being served at their restaurants. the last time anybody got sick was july 2nd. >> thank you so much, jim. now we turn to jobs in america, the unemployment rate ticking down today to 7.4%.
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162,000 jobs added last month. inside what is considered a steady but not sterling number, there is a silver lining, a kind of hidden hiring boom. abc's rebecca jarvis has more. >> reporter: at the minneapolis fire department, they see this. and this. almost every day. but it's been years since they've seen this. the first new hires since january 2008. >> we had initially 5,000 applications. paper applications picked up to be filled out. >> reporter: chief john fruetel says they're finally lifting a five-year hiring freeze, and now the floodgates are open. he's filling 40 spots with these cadets. >> i am cautiously optimistic. i think you're seeing cautious optimism around the country. >> reporter: so what's driving this uptick? housing. when home prices rise, that means more property taxes lining city coffers, and the money for firefighters, police, and
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teachers trickles in. so far this year, local governments have hired 46,000 new workers. if forecasters are right, that number will double by year end. meaning more good news for new cadets like brad lange. >> great job. i won the lottery. >> in eight of the last nine months, cities around the country have added firefighters, teachers and police. and many believe tonight we've turned a corner in terms of that type of hiring, things looking better. >> great, rebecca, thanks so much. sometimes what a difference a day makes. last night we told you about a tough law in russia against gay rights, raising concern that u.s. olympic athletes could be jailed during the winter olympics in russia. well, tonight, russia says its version of never mind. they have backed off that threat, saying the new laws will not apply during the olympics, one official saying, we need to be as polite and tolerant as possible.
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tonight a twist in a story we told you about earlier this week. a kind of bonnie and clyde. do you remember this moment, the inmate sprinting to freedom through a window? a woman waiting in a car nearby. today there was a surprise arrest in that case. abc's ryan owens tells us. >> reporter: derrick estelle, the hardened criminal who made a call, and then made a break for it, diving through the jail service window just ahead of a deputy, is still a free man. but tonight, another estelle has taken his place in this arkansas jail -- his mom glenda. authorities in hot springs accuse the 54-year-old mother of helping her son make his dramatic escape sunday afternoon, through that window that was just a foot high and 2.5 feet wide. we already knew the convicted burglar had help. this man was arrested for distracting deputies, so estelle could make his dive to freedom. and police are desperately
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looking for estelle's girlfriend. they say she was his get-away driver. waiting in this minivan with the passenger door wide open. >> if you see mr. estelle, don't take matters in your own hands. he should be considered very, very dangerous. >> reporter: a sonti run, while mom sits behind bars. ryan owens, abc news, dallas. and we have a note tonight, we've learned more about this explosive car crash caught on tape. watch the left side of your screen. a semitruck goes airborne, erupting into a fireball. inside a driver and his 7-year-old son. it happened in indiana. the father and son only suffered minor injuries. and the father now says he swerved to avoid a car that had drifted into his lane. investigators are studying that tape tonight. and you're about to learn now that not all vacations are created equal in america. congress with still so much work to be done, has given itself the kind of rest and relaxation most americans can only see in their
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dreams. abc's david kerley has our washington watchdog now. >> reporter: talk about a mad dash today. members of congress leaving the capitol. grabbing their bags, heading home for a five-week vacation. gone. with time running out to pass some big pieces of the country's business, including a budget. >> when you are at work, you are working until you get it all done. then you go on vacation. >> reporter: citizens vacationing in the nation's capitol -- >> you earn your vacation from doing your job. >> reporter: -- can't believe it. >> the average working man gets two weeks' vacation. that's more than enough. they get other breaks all through the year. >> reporter: look at the calendar. once they return, the house will have just nine working days before the end of the budget year. the senate just a few more. >> oh, my goodness, the amount of stuff, the list of important things that need to be done in this congress, it is as long as my arm. >> reporter: so far this year, the senate met only 96 working days. they were out of session for 53
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the house s. the worry, we are headed to another fiscal cliff. >> i am running late for a meeting. >> reporter: we tried to talk to several members -- congressman? -- but none wanted to stop and talk to us about their paid five weeks away from washington, totaling nearly $9 million in salary. >> i am doing town hall meetings. >> the entire time? >> most of the time. >> reporter: on the house side, democrats complain the republicans are getting nothing done, but they're still headed home. as for the speaker -- >> we'll have ample time to get our work done. >> reporter: after vacation. david kerley, abc news, capitol hill. and still ahead right here on "world news," a new kind of crime spree, targeting your dog or cat. and you'll meet the woman creating a national army of pet police. and oprah winfrey and forest whitaker, talking about family, marriage, love, and the truth about race in america. a big new movie, and our persons of the week.
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and now something that may have you holding your dog leash closer tonight. a new kind of thief, called a dog flipper, and a new kind of pet detective determined to bring your puppy home. abc's alex perez. >> reporter: liz arroyo was a bundle of nerves when her dog raiden went missing last month. >> he's like my baby. he's a part of the family, you know. arroyo sent pictures of raiden to danielle beck, a pet detective whose website helps reunite missing animals with their owners. her site's followers scoured the web, matching up nose lengths, whiskers, ears. soon finding this ad on craigslist, those yellow eyes, that unusual mix. price tag -- $1,000. beck identified it as a likely case of flipping.
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>> what is this idea of dog flipping? >> they're either finding the dog or they're stealing the dog from someone. then they're turning it around and making it a cash investment. they're saying they're rehoming the pet, but they're actually selling someone else's pet. >> reporter: beck alerted arroyo who answered the ad. >> you knew right away, this is my dog? >> right away. there was absolutely no question. >> reporter: when she called, the apparent flipper told her the dog's name was socrates and that she'd had him for six months. arroyo told the woman she'd need to go to an atm for cash. instead she returned with the police. >> reporter: as soon as you come back with a police officer, her story changes? >> yes, and she wouldn't even look me in the eye either. >> reporter: there was little police could do. selling a pet is not illegal unless it's stolen and proving that is very difficult. so how can owners protect their pets? make sure they are spayed or neutered. dogs or cats that cannot breed are less valuable. and have them microchipped. more than a million reunions
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between owners and their microchipped pets have been documented. liz arroyo and raiden had their reunion too, a story that could have had a very different ending. alex perez, abc news, indianapolis. and coming up next here, a mysterious piece of wood sparking global headlines. is this a remnant of the cross where jesus died, inside a stone chest? it's in our "instant index." a stone chest? in our "instant index."
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for our "instant index" tonight, the envelope, please. >> this really has been a dream of mine since i was a little girl. i've always wanted to host the academy awards. >> we've heard today ellen is doing it again. hosting the oscars next year, for the second time. she tweeted today, it's official, i'm hosting the oscars and i'd like to thank the academy, my wife portia and oh dear there goes the orchestra. and tonight we have a new claim about the cross where jesus died. archaeologists found a piece of wood in the ruins of an ancient church in turkey hidden inside a stone chest. tonight they're trying to confirm the date of the wooden relic and its place of origin, and if it's possible that it's a piece of the cross that somehow traveled from calgary where jesus was crucified 1,100 miles to that church in turkey. and a personal note about a
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beloved member of our abc family. >> herbert kaplow. abc news, at the state department. >> herb kaplow has died. he was one of the true grit straight talk journalists of our time covering civil rights, presidential campaigns, making all of us at home feel as if we were in the front row too. i just want to say personally to the new kids, you could count on his guidance and his kindness. as one of those former new kids, sadness for his family tonight. herb kaplow was 86 years old. and when we come back here, oprah winfrey and forest whitaker, a big new movie and what they say about marriage, race, and loving each other in america. our persons of the week. other in america. our persons of the week. "i'm part of an american success story," "that starts with one of the world's most advanced distribution systems,"
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whitaker, stars of a big new movie, "the butler." it's about choices we make, how to show up for what we believe and how a gentle voice can sometimes change the world. along with the smoking, drinking, and very high spirited wife. i'm seeing something i never thought i would see in my entire life. ♪ >> disco. >> i didn't realize that was so funny. >> that's your best move? >> those are my '70s moves, and i'm still doing them, yes. >> you show up in a puff of smoke. >> i'm not a smoker and the very first time i tried it, they said the cigarette is backwards. turn it around, you lit the wrong end. >> smoking, drinking. >> yes. >> loneliness and love. >> based on the true story of the man who brought dignity into the white house. searching for his role in a time of change. the real butler who served a panorama of presidents. look closely. that's robin williams as eisenhower.
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alan rickman and jane fonda as ronald and nancy reagan. who ultimately invited him to a state dinner. >> the movie shows us that we're in this living history, this living civil rights history. >> and that there are a lot of different ways to be a warrior. >> yes. >> that you use the strength. >> in the end, that's what it's all about. i'm the daughter of a maid. my mother was a maid. my grandmother was a maid. and i'm proud of that, because had they not been who they were, i couldn't be who i am. >> but what is a noblest course for a man at a time when people are out in the streets and the freedom buses. sitting in. >> we did a screening the other night and some younger people said, did that really happen? and i want to say, yeah, it really, really happened. i don't think i would have had the kind of courage to put myself on a bus. >> you would have been on the bus. >> i believe he would have been one of those people who would have gotten on the bus. would have risked his life to get on the bus. i believe he would have.
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>> i'd like to believe that i would live by my ideals and i'd want to fight to make sure justice was done. i believe i would have been on that bus. >> trayvon martin, we've just been through. what are we to do with this moment? >> i do not know the answer to that question, diane. i do not know the answer to that question. there were so many people on the other side of that question who didn't understand why so many black people were upset. i think this movie offers an answer. >> we're still trying to live up to what the ideals of this country is. so we watch this movie, which is a constant string, hasn't been broken. it's a continual motion and that's what's happening today. >> this is a complex, moving, and human story that brought oprah winfrey back to acting after 15 years. was it like getting back on a bike? >> it was not exactly like getting back on a bike. i was panicked. because i saw in the script there were places where she needed to go and i started
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thinking about a crying scene weeks before. like, what am i going to do when i get to that moment and have to cry? >> but she and her co-star were determined to prove that history is lived in the beauty and bruises of daily life, where we can all go forward if we learn and live together. >> it has been rare as an african american, when i've ever seen intimacy on screen between two african americans. i remember years ago, i saw it on ""the cosby show," at the end of a credit, and i started to tear up. because i thought, why am i tearing up? i don't even know what the story was. because i had not seen that on television in my lifetime. intimacy, connection, and tenderness between two black people. you see everything, you see lust and all that, but you don't see connection that says to the world, this is who we are. we're just like you. this is who we are. we love the same. we live the same. our sorrows are the same.
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our joys are the same. our worries. and so i think that's what this film does in a way that really opens my heart space. >> we choose oprah winfrey and forest whitaker, and you can see this movie, "the butler," on august 16th. we thank you for watching. we're always there for you at "20/20" later and the team right here all weekend. goodnight. tonight possibility of another bart strike. a view of the talks. do worker as agree they're closing the gap? >> where has bart board of directors been through all of this snoo r? you'll hear from a member who admits they should have done more. >> i'm nannette miranda in sacramento.
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governor brown loses another round on the prison overcrowding case. i'll tell you how many inmates the state must now release. >> how times have changed two decades after tearing down embarcadero freeway a san francisco bilgd boom is now underway. >> we've got three days now in negotiations terms it's a very long time. >> best part -- that is bart's grace critical conditionagen. good evening, i'm dan ashley. >> just 54 hours until the bart contract runs outlets get to the latest developments. bart mg says she's optimistic. two sides are still talking tonight. some have packed their bags for a possible all nighter zll a
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strike. abc 7 news is live tonight with team coverage and let's begin with you, heather and talks still underway. >> yes. they are. we just saw carter into the doors we haven't seen him before now. otherwise little traffic. and that is another question entirely. >> is at 11:00 tote today with chief negotiator from bart not arriving until 1:45 after a closed door meeting. he's been in the union site with absences and refusal
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